Participating in an Eastern Europe Studies Centre (RESC) discussion, Gitanas Nausėda once more stated his programme guidelines and stressed that we must not only feel like NATO members, but must also strengthen our position of membership, also adding that while the European Union is crucial, we should not limit ourselves to its borders.
Gitanas Nausėda
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

African states, India, China, Latina America and the United States are regions we should look to outside the EU's walls, G. Nausėda stated. He believes that export and import cooperation with these countries is an option.

"I view the European Union as an important institutional, political and other dish. It allows to take and protect human rights," G. Nausėda said, adding that this is very lacking on the Eastern side.

"To me, the EU is a massive market, where Lithuania, having become its member, has excellent opportunities to develop its exports," he said, albeit noting, "I would not want our orientation toward the EU to become seclusion from the rest of the world."

According to G. Nausėda, positions in NATO should be strengthened. He explains that it is the country's only shield to withstand any external enemy. This, the presidential candidate notes, should not only be done through discussions and rhetoric. "We must feel as an equal NATO member," he noted, also pointing out that relations with the US must continuously be strengthened.

The candidate also reiterated that his views on foreign policy toward the East has not changed, with him remaining a pro-Western candidate. While he notes that he is in favour of communication with all willing parties, he stressed that even during discussions, principles must be retained, stating, "We cannot make a washcloth of our principles." Later in the discussion, he would note that there is little hope for friendship with Russia as of right now.

In regard to relations with Poland, Belarus and other neighbours, G. Nausėda explained they should be based on goodwill, albeit highlighting that relations with Poland should differ to those with Belarus. He noted that it would be worth establishing closer export links to Poland and seek to enter the larger country's market more resolutely. At the same time though, he noted that this does not mean him urging the penetration of Polish goods into the Lithuanian market.

He noted that he supports the use of Polish characters in Lithuanian passports' second page and that for his first official visit, he would visit Poland. Furthermore, he stated that the country should seek to improve relations with neighbours, seeking to become a conductor, creating balance.

Following his presentation, G. Nausėda received a question on whether he would meet the Dalai Lama as president. To this, the candidate responded that while he respects the Dalai Lama and sees basis for his meetings with religious and perhaps political leaders, a meeting with the president does not appear to be an option currently. At the same time G. Nausėda mused on the potential for an informal or unofficial meeting.

Delfi reminds that 13 candidates are vying for the post of president. Up to March 28, they must gather a minimum sum of 20 thousand signatures supporting their presidential bid.

On April 12, after reviewing the signatures, the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) will declare everyone, who will be able to continue in the presidential race, making them official candidates.

The first to gather the prerequisite signatures was Ingrida Šimonytė. She took only 24 hours to gather the required number of signatures purely through the online format. The second to do this was Gitanas Nausėda.

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